Does “Twitter Blue” Check All the Right Boxes?
It was April of last year when Elon Musk publicly announced his plans to purchase Twitter. The deal then closed for $44 billion in October 2022. Twitter has had some ups and downs since then, making the news almost every other week. Staff layoffs, spam accounts, changes to their business model, advertising revenue decline, and shadow bans to name just a few of the viral headlines. However, for this blog, I am going to focus on their recently launched subscription service and what impact it will have on Twitter’s future.
The subscription-based service is called Twitter Blue and for $8/month subscribers can get access to subscriber-only features like edit Tweet, 1080p video uploads, and reader mode. Subscribers also receive a blue checkmark on their accounts ensuring they were reviewed to meet all of Twitter’s requirements, including rules against impersonation. Some of the other features include:
Prioritized rankings in conversations and search
See approximately twice as many Tweets between ads in your timeline
Post longer videos and 1080p video uploads
Bookmark folders and early access to new features
Longer Tweets - create Tweets, replies, and quotes up to 10,000 characters long
Edit a Tweet up to 5 times within 30 minutes
NFT Profile Pictures - set your profile picture to an NFT you own
So, depending on how important you or your business view the items above, will you then be able to determine whether the $8 monthly fee is worth it or not? Personally, I think it would be nice to have the edit Tweet feature along with the ability to post longer videos added to accounts without having to pay $8 a month, but I don’t own Twitter. Also, for those accounts of public interest (blue badge), it was nice to know that Twitter vetted them as authentic, notable, and active without someone paying their way for that verification. While the subscription service may not be for everyone, it is certainly worth considering for those who use Twitter regularly and want to take advantage of the exclusive features it offers.
Twitter is still a popular social media platform although it has faced challenges in recent years specifically when it comes to advertising. In 2020, Twitter saw a decline in ad revenue due to the pandemic, and in 2021-22, the platform faced backlash from advertisers who were concerned about the spread of misinformation and hate speech. Most recently it has been concerns over the Musk takeover, the firing of staff, and the relaxing of content moderation policies that have contributed to 625 of the top 1,000 Twitter advertisers pulling their ad dollars. Once those top companies reacted, other companies followed by boycotting the platform altogether or by reducing their ad spend.
Overall, the release of Twitter Blue may provide a revenue boost for the platform, which could help offset some of the challenges mentioned above. With a subscription-based model, Twitter can generate revenue from users who want to access exclusive features and perks, rather than relying solely on advertising revenue. This could be especially appealing to non-verified accounts that may not have the resources to invest in advertising but are willing to pay for a premium experience on the platform.
Looking to the future, Twitter may still need to continue to find new ways to attract advertisers and generate revenue. With the rise of other social media platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram, Twitter will need to differentiate itself and offer unique opportunities for advertisers to reach their target audience. One opportunity that is still in its early stages is a revenue-sharing program with influencers and content creators, who by the way, must also be Blue subscribers. Establishing revenue sharing with content creators will help Twitter compete with platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok, which already have systems for paying creators directly.
At the end of the day, Twitter is a business and just like any other business it needed to adapt by creating a new revenue stream to combat the dramatic loss of advertising dollars it experienced over the past 2-3 years. Twitter, like all social platforms, continues to search for sustainable ways to incentivize creators to develop more content although making Blue a requirement may be a challenge. With over 300 million users and just 500k Blue subscribers, I’d say Twitter has its work cut out for them.